Chester Visual Arts (CVA) brought the major V&A exhibition Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers to Chester this summer - its first tour stop outside of London.

Ben Laposky, Oscillon 40, c-type photographic print, USA, 1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Sanford Museum

Chester Visual Arts (CVA) brought the major V&A exhibition Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers to Chester this summer.
Featuring key artworks from the pioneers of digital art over the last 50 years, this groundbreaking exhibition was another significant milestone towards the organisation’s objective to establish a permanent contemporary art gallery in Chester.

Image: Pen and ink plotter drawing, ‘CYBERFLOWER, Sunshine Version 1’ (2008) © Roman Verostko

Since the 1960s, artists and programmers have used computers to create prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and digital artworks. Chance and Control drew on the V&A’s rich international collection of computer-generated art and includes work by pioneering digital artists such as Frieder Nake and Georg Nees – who produced some of the earliest computer art – through to the younger generation of artists practicing today.

It offered viewers the rare opportunity to trace the chronological development of digital art, exploring how aspects of chance and control shaped the creative process and produced vivid and original artworks.

Frederick Hammersley, With English, lithograph after a computer-generated impact print, USA, 1973. © Victoria and Albert Museum/Frederick Hammersley Foundation

Artists featured included:

Damien Borowik

Paul Brown

Herbert Brün

Harold Cohen

Analivia Cordeiro

Waldemar Cordeiro

Charles Csuri

Charles and Ray Eames

William Fetter

Frederick Hammersley

Frieder Nake

Desmond Paul Henry

Hiroshi Kawano

Masao Kohmura

William Latham      

Ben Laposky

Andy Lomas

Aaron Marcus

Manfred Mohr

Vera Molnar

 Georg Nees

Michael Noll

    Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri

    Donald K. Robbins

    Esther Rolinson

    Roman Verostko

    Miguel Angel Vidal

    Darrell Viner

    Mark Wils

    “We’re delighted to strengthen our relationship with the V&A by bringing this groundbreaking exhibition to Chester. Our lives are increasingly defined by our relationship with digital technologies; Chance and Control traces how artists were – and continue to be – at the vanguard of new possibilities. It is a very timely exhibition. The excellent visitor response to the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize demonstrates the continuing appetite for high-quality visual art in the city and the desire for a permanent gallery. Alongside this, we are pleased to continue our educational offer for schools and young people in the region.”
    Ian Short, Chairman of Chester Visual Arts

    Georg Nees, Untitled, Screenprint, after a computer-generated drawing, Germany, 1970. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Georg Nees

    Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programmes at the V&A:
    “Chance and Control explores the impact of the computer on the relationship between art and technology, within an important tradition at the V&A of collecting digital design. We are delighted to be collaborating with Chester Visual Arts for the third time in 2 years, so that this fascinating and timely display can be enjoyed by an even wider audience this summer.”
    Douglas Dodds, Head of Digital collections and services at the V&A, commented:
    “We’re delighted that the Chance and Control exhibition’s UK tour is starting in Chester. The show also includes early work by Paul Brown, who attended art college in Liverpool, and Desmond Paul Henry, who lived and worked in Manchester.”
    “We’re thrilled to be playing a key role in bringing this exhibition to Chester. It promises to be a unique experience and will attract a wide range of interest from city visitors, with a huge range of artwork that really showcases the development of digital art over the past 50 years.''
    “It’s also fantastic to see an empty building in the former city centre library transformed into an art gallery in this way. On behalf of the Trust, we’re delighted to be continuing our work bringing important works of art to the Cheshire region for people to see and enjoy.”
    Clive Pointon, Chairman of the Trust and head of the acclaimed Wills, Trusts and Tax team at Chester-based law firm Aaron & Partners



    Harold Cohen, Untitled, computer-generated drawing with hand colouring, USA, 1974 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Harold Cohen

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